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Handcuffs

Two cops in Louisiana arrested for taking bribe to incriminate man's brother

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© Reuters/Mariana Bazo
Two Louisiana law enforcement officers have been arrested on charges of racketeering for accepting a bribe of over $100,000, and unlawfully arresting an innocent man after planting drugs in his car.

The man accused of paying the bribe is Mark Knight, CEO of major oil and gas company 'Knight Oil Tools'. He and his former employee, Russell Manual, have been notified of the warrants for their arrest.

Allegedly, Mark Knight paid State Trooper Corey Jackson and Sheriff's Deputy Jason Kinch in exchange for planting containers filled with cocaine and prescription drugs underneath his brother's car, Bryan Knight, the company's co-owner. The law enforcers subsequently arrested him in June 2014.

But in March 2015, investigators established the magnetic cases recovered from the undercarriage of Bryan Knight's vehicle were purchased by Knight Oil Tools at the request of Russell Manual, an employee who answered directly to the CEO Mark Knight, KATC reports.

Yoda

Time Magazine readers - over half of whom are Americans - name Putin most influential person in world

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© RIA Novosti/Alexei Druzhinin
In a diverse field of competitors made up of pop stars, technology gurus, visionaries and politicians - and at a time when US-Russia relations have hit rock bottom - President Putin has emerged victorious in Time magazine's 2015 reader poll.

Among the 100 most influential people in the world, as hand selected by the editors of TIME, the Russian leader proved his rock-star credentials by edging out 24-year-old rapper Lee Chae-rin (better known by her stage name, 'CL') of the South Korean girl-group 2NE1 to claim the number-one spot with 6.95 percent of the votes in the final tally.

Putin - the only world leader to rank in the top 10 - grabbed the global spotlight from the leading divas of pop music: Lady Gaga, Rihanna and Taylor Swift (2.6 percent, 1.9 percent and 1.8 percent of the votes, respectively). Aside from the Russian leader, the only non-celebrities to appear in the top 10 were the Dalai Lama (1.7 percent), Pakistani female activist Malala Yousafzai (1.6 percent) and Pope Francis (1.5 percent).

Stormtrooper

Ex-Philly cop admits he planted drugs in scheme targeting white 'khaki-pants type' males

© Reuters / Tim Shaffer
Testifying against his colleagues, a former Philadelphia cop told the court about the extortions, robberies, drug deals and other abuses perpetrated by six narcotics officers currently standing trial for a six-year racketeering scheme.

"White males, college boys, wearing khaki pants, easy to intimidate," were the group's preferred targets, ex-officer Jeffrey Walker told the jury. "We'd catch them doing whatever they were doing, we'd scream at them, sometimes get physical. I'd slap them around. These guys crack under the pressure."

Walker said he and the other African-American officer in the group, Linwood Norman, were known as "The Twin Towers" and were often assigned by the ringleader, Thomas Liciardello, to rough people up. On one occasion, Walker said, he and Norman extorted a password from a drug dealer by holding him over the railing of a high-rise balcony.

Pirates

Mexico authorities confirm ISIS camp a few miles from Texas

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ISIS is operating a camp just a few miles from El Paso, Texas, according to Judicial Watch sources that include a Mexican Army field grade officer and a Mexican Federal Police Inspector.

The exact location where the terrorist group has established its base is around eight miles from the U.S. border in an area known as "Anapra" situated just west of Ciudad Juárez in the Mexican state of Chihuahua. Another ISIS cell to the west of Ciudad Juárez, in Puerto Palomas, targets the New Mexico towns of Columbus and Deming for easy access to the United States, the same knowledgeable sources confirm.

During the course of a joint operation last week, Mexican Army and federal law enforcement officials discovered documents in Arabic and Urdu, as well as "plans" of Fort Bliss - the sprawling military installation that houses the US Army's 1st Armored Division. Muslim prayer rugs were recovered with the documents during the operation.

Law enforcement and intelligence sources report the area around Anapra is dominated by the Vicente Carrillo Fuentes Cartel ("Juárez Cartel"), La Línea (the enforcement arm of the cartel) and the Barrio Azteca (a gang originally formed in the jails of El Paso). Cartel control of the Anapra area make it an extremely dangerous and hostile operating environment for Mexican Army and Federal Police operations.


Comment: Does something about this report seem contrived? Well, like all of it? Wow, those ISIS guys are really busy. If this were true, this story would be splashed all over the media in big bold black letters and would suck all the air out of the newsroom. However, having "vented" that, there is this little military exercise upcoming that you may have heard about, Jade Helm 15, in nine US states. "They" say it is a test, but is looking a lot like the real thing. Troops are to operate undetected amongst civilian populations, while Green Berets, Navy Seals, and the 82nd Airborne Division perform military maneuvers from July 15-September 15 with all their heavy equipment, classifying several states as hostile territory. Marshall Law and your local internment camp await. Trial run? For two months?


Sheriff

Georgia man arrested for attempting to fix bridge where daughter was killed


Two high school students were tragically killed last month after 18-year-old Taylor Swing lost control of his vehicle on a curve. The high school student's car then careened over the edge of a bridge. Swing, as well as his passenger,16-year-old Cecily Hamilton, both drowned after the vehicle landed in the creek below. There are currently barricades along the length of the bridge, but none at the entrance after the curve. Had there been barricades, Hamilton's father believes that the teenagers may still be alive today.

Since this tragic accident, the father of 16-year-old Cecily, Shannon Hamilton, has been attempting to get the county to construct barricades to prevent any more lives being lost. Unsatisfied with the county seeming to blow off the issue, the grieving father decided to take matters into his own hands to make his community a safer place. Hamilton began constructing temporary safety features himself using materials donated by neighbors. Sadly, Hamilton was arrested for interference with government property, but his proud son took to Facebook to share a video and express his support and love for his father.

Comment: Instead of arresting a grieving father for trying to do something constructive for his community, why aren't the police arresting real criminals? There's plenty of white collared psychopaths and sexual predators that would fit perfectly into the back of a police cruiser.


Nuke

Post-Fukushima nuclear restart plans dealt a blow by court ruling

© news.discovery.com
Radiation and human exposure reached beyond critical levels in the 2011 meltdown.
A court in Japan has dealt a blow to plans by the prime minister, Shinzo Abe, to relaunch nuclear power generation four years after the Fukushima meltdown by halting the restart of two reactors over safety concerns.

The country's Nuclear Regulation Authority had approved the restart of the reactors at the Takahama plant in Fukui prefecture, but in a ruling on Tuesday judges sided with residents who had sought an injunction against the facility's operator, Kansai Electric Power (Kepco).

The residents had argued that nuclear officials had underestimated the plant's vulnerability to powerful earthquakes of the kind that triggered the Fukushima disaster. They added that the reactors did not meet proper safety standards and that evacuation contingencies were inadequate.

With the nuclear watchdog having approved the restart of the ageing Takahama reactors, as well as two other reactors at the Sendai nuclear power plant in south-western Japan, anxious residents see the courts as their last chance to block the restarts.

The last of Japan's 48 functioning nuclear reactors went offline in September 2013 in response to the March 2011 Fukushima disaster, the world's worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl in 1986.


Comment: There are differences between acceptance of nuclear power to offset rising energy needs, nuclear power that is compromised due to degraded systems and damage causing safety concerns, and consumer nuclear power as a cover for stockpiling enriched fuel for weapons. The real question is why a country that is so prone to earthquakes (natural and manmade) would and could even consider this form of energy production! The PAC-RIM is currently very active and tectonic plates are shifting and compensating on a daily basis - not a satisfactory scenario for restarting this insanity, especially if Fukushima Daiichi's destruction was, as some suspect, a message.


Bandaid

The planned obsolescence of America

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Wall-E and Eve illustrate how older technology is replaced by a newer model.
Planned obsolescence is the act of designing something to become obsolete or self destruct at a certain point in the future for the purpose of replacing it with something else. We see this with many of the things we use today, especially appliances, home furnishings and technology. We are expected to upgrade at regular intervals to keep up with the times.

It was not always this way. In the past many things were built to last, in some cases for many generations. There are many homes in the world that were built centuries ago and are as functional today as the day they were built. There are appliances built almost a century ago that still do what they were designed to do. There are cars and tools that are decades old that still function as intended.

Comment: The tyranny of convenience


Pistol

Police use 'less-lethal' weapons for torture say rights groups

© enquirer.com
Pepperball gun - a less-lethal weapon.
Law enforcement agencies around the world routinely use "less-lethal" weapons and equipment for torture, leading human rights organizations stated Monday. Amnesty International and the Omega Research Foundation made the statement as they launched a briefing at the United Nations Crime Congress, underway in Doha, Qatar.


Comment: Omega Research Foundation, independent UK-based research organization providing research on the manufacture, trade in, and use of, military, security and police technologies, "tools of torture"...and provide redress for torture survivors.


The advocacy groups recommended the application of stricter controls or bans on the use of weapons and other law enforcement equipment professionally defined as "less lethal" due to the high risks involved.

Police forces and prison officials have at their disposal a dizzying array of weapons and kit that, while known as 'less-lethal', can cause serious injury or even death," Marek Marczynski, Head of Military, Security and Police at Amnesty International said, as quoted in the statement.

Comment: There is a global crisis on torture. Over the last five years, torture was reported in 141 countries - three-quarters of the world. Laws against torture are in place almost everywhere. Torture is thriving because rather than respecting the law, many governments are either actively using torture or turning a blind eye.


Snakes in Suits

California residents forced to ration water while the state gives big business a break

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© Flickr/ Don DeBold
As California continues to suffer one of its worst droughts in decades, residents face potential fines of $500 daily for excessive water use. But as the average Joe is being forced to rearrange his shower routine, the state is giving major breaks to big business.

In 1974's Chinatown, private eye Jake Gittes stumbles into a conspiracy surrounding California's water supply during the thirsty 1930s. "Can you believe it?" a mortician asks. "We're in the middle of a drought, and the water commissioner drowns. Only in LA." Thus unfolds a plot in which Gittes learns a crucial truth: in the desert, water can become a dangerous, political commodity.

The classic screenplay was based on the real life California Water Wars of the early 20th century, a series of political conflicts which evidently continue to this day.

After four years of drought, water levels in California's reservoirs continue to fall, and citizens have been asked to take drastic measures. Earlier this month, Governor Jerry Brown announced controversial new policies to curtail unnecessary water use.

"This executive order is done under emergency power," Brown told ABC's This Week. "We have a state water board that oversees the relationships with the districts. Hundreds of them. If they don't comply, people can be fined $500 a day. Districts can go to court to get a cease and desist order. The enforcement mechanism is powerful. In a drought of this magnitude, you have to change that behavior and you have to change it substantially."

Piggy Bank

Foodstamp financiers: Wells Fargo workers protest re-emergence of predatory practices

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One of America's biggest banks is going to be protested by an unlikely group today: its employees. As The Guardian reports, Wells Fargo bankers are protesting the bank's alleged predatory practices - mainly the sales quotas imposed on some of its workers (which have led to at least 30 employees opening duplicate accounts, sometimes without customers' knowledge, in order to inflate their sales numbers). One worker warns, "it is not in Wells Fargo's best interest for customers to purchase products and services they don't use or need." Now where have we seen this kind of activity before? Wells Fargo bank workers are not the only ones struggling to make ends meet without breaking ethical standards as bank tellers have collected as much as $105m in food stamps.
"Basically, what I do all day is look at people's bank statements," said Michael Lewis, 46, who works as a financial crime specialist at Wells Fargo in Chandler, Arizona... "I have kind of an unique experience knowing how America spends its money and knowing how broke everyone is."
As The Guardian reports, the quotas, first exposed in a lawsuit filed by a long-term Wells Fargo customer, David Douglas, have led to at least 30 employees opening duplicate accounts, sometimes without customers' knowledge, in order to inflate their sales numbers. The 30 employees have been fired, according to the Los Angeles Times. The quotas, however, persist.
While Lewis has no quotas to fill himself, he said he is affected by those imposed on the personal bankers.

"It does affect me in the sense that [the customers] will call and dispute an internal charge - like a travel insurance charge - that they never signed up for, and then we will have to address that," he said. "People claim that they have been signed up for bank services that they never agreed to, like overdraft protection."

Lewis has "no concrete proof" that bankers are signing up customers for these services without their knowledge in order to meet the quotas, but "that is the assumption", he said.

A number of Lewis's coworkers at the call center have previously worked at the banks and were subject to the quotas. "What I see a lot is a sense of relief that they have made it out of the bank," said Lewis.

Comment: Banks will try to get away with anything they can to increase their bottom line. They are no different than major corporations.